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How to Crochet With Beads

I was watching a craft show on PBS a couple of weeks ago, and saw this method for crocheting with beads.  Instead of threading all of your beads onto the yarn before you start crocheting, you can add each bead as you go.

crochet with beads

Materials

  • Yarn
  • Crochet Hook
  • Beads
  • Small piece of wire

Watch the video for details!

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Santa Hat Pattern: Double Crochet

There are a lot of free patterns to knit or single crochet a Santa hat, but I had a hard time finding a double crochet pattern I liked.  So here’s the pattern I created.  I prefer double crochet because I think it’s faster and stretchier than single crochet.  I made this hat for a 4-month-old, but since a Santa hat is basically a cone, and you just have to keep making it bigger to make different sizes, it’s very easy to adapt this pattern for different ages. Just keep repeating the increasing pattern until the opening looks like the right size.

This pattern starts out similarly to any basic double crochet hat, like this one.  The main difference is that while a regular hat increases every round, a Santa hat increases every other round.

Santa Hat

Materials

One skein red yarn

One skein white yarn

Size G hook

White pom pom

 

Pattern

(With Red) Chain (ch) 4 and use a slip stitch (sl st) to join to the first chain stitch to create a loop.

Row 1:  Ch 3. Double crochet (dc) 5 into the middle of the loop. Join with sl st to the top of the first ch 3 in the row. 6 stitches.

Row 2:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same stitch (st), dc into the next st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 12 stitches.

Row 3:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 12 stitches.

Row 4:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 2 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 2 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 18 stitches.

Row 5:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 18 stitches.

Row 6:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 3 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 3 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 24 stitches.

Row 7:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 24 stitches.

Row 8:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 4 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 4 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 30 stitches.

Row 9:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 30 stitches.

Row 10:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 5 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 5 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 36 stitches.

Row 11:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 36 stitches.

Row 12:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 6 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 6 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 42 stitches.

Row 13:  Ch 3. Double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 42 stitches.

Row 14:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 7 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 7 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 48 stitches.

Row 15-25:  Ch 3. Double crochet in each st around.  Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 48 stitches.

Row 26-27:  (With White) Ch 2. Half double crochet into every stitch. Join with sl st to the top of ch 2. 48 stitches.

Finish off, weave in the ends, and sew a white pom-pom to the tip.

 

What’s Next?

More Christmas crafts!

Pinterest Picks–Vol. 1

I’ve been on the road a lot this past month, and haven’t had much time outside of the car for crafting.  Time in the car can be a great time for crafting…but it’s also a great time for napping!  I had planned to crochet, but instead I spent most of the time on Pinterest.  Here are some of my favorite crochet pins I found.

 

One of my trips this month was to wine country up in the Finger Lakes of New York.  So what better way to start this list than with a free crochet pattern for a wine tote?  This is a great way to give a bottle of wine as a gift.

I’ve been driving my mom’s old car recently, and the seat belt is itchy and scratches my neck.  I’ve adjusted it as much as I can, but I’m going to make this seat belt cover to make it more comfortable.

This scarf looks really easy.  There’s no pattern with the link, but all you need to do is crochet circles and stitch them together.  Then stitch an M on them all.  This looks like a good way to use up scraps.

Another way to use up scraps–a reusable Swiffer!  I have some leftover Pipsqueak yarn from a baby blanket that I think would catch dust well.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t start your Christmas crafts until it’s too late to finish them by December.  Now is the time to start thinking about Christmas crafts if you want to finish them before you have to start thinking about all the shopping, baking, and decorating.

Happy pinning!

Tips for Crocheting and Blocking Doilies

Craft BookMy great-grandmother crocheted a couple hundred doilies in her lifetime.  My family inherited several, and I’ve been feeling inspired to try making one myself.  My mom found a book she had bought years ago (for 29 cents!) that had a simple doily pattern that I decided to make.  Choose something with a lot of open spaces for your first project–it will go faster that way! This is a good pattern to start with.

Choosing Your Thread and Hook

I bought Coats and Clark size 10 thread and a size 6 hook.  Hooks for crocheting with thread are sized differently than hooks for yarn, so don’t use a size 6 yarn hook and expect the desired result.  With hooks for crocheting with thread (for lace or doilies) the hooks get larger as the numbers get smaller.  A size 6 hook was the largest of this type of hook that I could find at my local craft store.  I recommend choosing a light color of thread.  I’ve said before that lighter colors make it easier to see your work, which is particularly helpful as you’re just learning a new technique.  I chose a variegated pastel thread, because there’s no rule that a doily has to be white!

Getting StartedFirst few rounds

Thread for lace or doilies is much harder to hold than yarn is, and my tension was sort of hit or miss for the first couple of rounds.  But don’t give up! It gets easier as you go!  Another thing I noticed is that the thread would often slip off the hook as I would try to draw up a loop.  If this happens to you, remember that even if you wrap the thread all the way around the hook, you’ll still only draw up one loop.  Also, switching from yarn to thread takes patience.

Finishing Off

I didn’t weave in my ends as aggressively as I do for a hat or blanket because this doily will not be worn, stretched, or washed often.  I just sort of worked the ends.  A yarn needle would have been too large, so I used an embroidery needle.  It worked beautifully!

BlockingMy doily!

The instructions in the book said to starch and lightly press the doily when it was finished.  I don’t have any starch, and all that seemed unnecessary.  It was a little curled, but not too bad.  I just filled a clean spray bottle with some water and placed the doily on a towel.  I spritzed the entire thing lightly and pressed out the curls.  Then I worked my way around the border, spritzing a little each time, and reshaping the edging into nice round  curves with my fingers.  Keep the doily flat and laid out in the right shape until it’s dry and it will keep its shape.

What’s Next?

I found some cute patriotic fabric at the craft store that I hope to turn into something for the 4th of July!

Free Pattern: Double Crochet Beret

I made this hat with very thin bamboo yarn, but it’s easy to adapt this pattern for medium weight yarn.  For the bamboo yarn I used, I used a thinner hook, like E or F.  For medium weight yarn, use G, H, or I.  Just choose something that works well with the yarn you’ve chosen.  This pattern uses the first type of seam I learned for crocheting in the round.  This seam will be somewhat visible in the finished product.  The pattern is written out for medium weight yarn.  If you are using thinner yarn and a smaller hook, increase for more rows, until the diameter is the desired size.

This hat was my first experience with bamboo yarn.

Start With a Circle

Chain (ch) 4 and use a slip stitch (sl st) to join to the first chain stitch to create a loop.

Row 1:  Ch 3. Double crochet (dc) 11 into the middle of the loop. Join with sl st to the top of the first ch 3 in the row. 12 stitches.

Row 2:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same stitch (st), dc into the next st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 24 stitches.

Row 3:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 2 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 2 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 36 stitches.

Row 4:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 3 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 3 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 48 stitches.

Row 5:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 4 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 4 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 60 stitches.

Row 6:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 5 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 5 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 72 stitches.

Row 7:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 6 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 6 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 84 stitches.

Row 8:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 7 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 7 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 96 stitches.

Row 9:  Ch 3. Double crochet in each st around.  Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 96 stitches.

 

Beret vs. Slouchy Hat

At this point in the pattern, preference plays a role.  How wide do you want the beret to be? Do you want it to be more pancake shaped, or more of a slouchy hat?  I opted for more of a slouchy hat.  If you want it more pancake-y, start decreasing rows immediately.  For a slouchy hat, repeat Row 9 until your hat is the desired slouchiness.

 

Decreasing Rows

Row 10:  Ch 3.  Dc in next 6 st. Decrease the next two st together (yarn over and draw up a loop in first st then yarn over and pull yarn through first two loops, yarn over and draw up a loop in second st then yarn over and pull yarn through first two loops, then pull yarn through all remaining loops).  <Dc in next 7 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 84 stitches.

Row 11:  Ch 3. Dc in next 5 st. Decrease. <Dc in next 6 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 72 stitches.

Row 12:  Ch 3. Dc in next 4 st. Decrease. <Dc in next 5 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 60 stitches.

 

Sizing

Continue decreasing each row until the opening for the hat is the desired size.  For each row after that point, dc in each st around.  Continue until hat band is desired length.

Finish off and weave in the ends.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions about this pattern, or you are having trouble with any part of it, leave a comment or find me on Twitter and I will help you!

Crocheting Without a Pattern

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my great-grandmother could crochet anything without a pattern.  She didn’t even know how to decipher a pattern.  She would just look at something and know how to recreate it, or just create the pattern in her mind as she went along.

She crocheted a lot of doilies…

doilies

…and other decorative items like shoes…

tiny-shoe

…and tiny dresses.

tiny-dress

I wish I had such talent.  I’ve been seeing a lot of things on Pinterest lately that I would love to try, but often the patterns are not included, not free, or in another language.  I’ve been trying to figure out how one can crochet something so complicated without a pattern, and I think I’m finding some starting points.

Basic Shapes

I once learned in an art class that the first thing you should do when you’re going to draw something is break down the basic shapes.  Lightly sketch the oval of the frog’s body, the rectangle of the log he’s sitting on, and the circles of his eyes.  Then fill out the rest.  I think the same idea can be applied to crochet.  Learn how to crochet flat shapes like circles and squares, as well as some 3-D shapes like a sphere and a cylinder.  Hat’s usually start with a half sphere for the crown and straighten out about half-way down.  Squares can be stitched together to make cubes.

Increasing and Decreasing

Increasing and decreasing your stitches is usually a very important part of a pattern.  To make as spherical shape, you have to increase a certain amount every row (the amount depends on whether you’re using single or double crochet).  To make a cylinder less boxy, and more body shaped, increasing and decreasing in the right areas will make a stuffed animal come to life.

Modifying Other Patterns

I’ve talking about slightly modifying patterns before, but sometimes you can borrow instructions from several different patterns to get the look you want.  For instance, if I wanted to add dragon scales to a hat for my adorable nephew, I don’t have to buy a pattern for that.  I can use a basic hat pattern I already have, and add scales from a pattern book of stuffed animals that I also already have.  I just need to make the scales bigger by increasing for a few more rows than the pattern shows.

Start With Something Easy

I’ve really only created hat patterns from scratch before.  I had been working from a basic free hat pattern, and realized I could turn it into a beret pretty easily by making my circle bigger and bigger until I decided to decrease the stitches and bring it back in.  Through some trial and error, I finally got my rows increasing and decreasing at the correct rate.  A beret hat was a good place for me to start working without a pattern, because I’m comfortable working in the round and making hats already, and the only thing I was really experimenting with was increasing my stitches.  If you start of trying to crochet a stuffed giraffe without a pattern, you will probably be disappointed.

What’s Next?

In my next post, how about I share that beret hat pattern for free? I just have to remember what I did, since I didn’t write my “pattern” down!

Baby Afghan – Reverse Single Crochet Border

The first project I started working on for my nephew was gender-neutral. My brother and sister-in-law hadn’t found out yet that he would be a boy, and I didn’t want to wait to get started crocheting. I looked over some free patterns online, and saw this adorable star blanket. star blanket

Adjustments to fix some problems

Pattern was wrong

– It’s entirely possible that I read the pattern wrong, especially since I taught myself to read patterns. Whatever the case may be, I had to do some revising. My problem really started to show around Round 5, but it started earlier. I think there may be a problem with where the asterisks are. As I worked the blanket, my seam was located along the line of “skip two dc” but when I followed the asterisks, I was adding extra stitches with each round. After restarting a few times, I got a star shape and kept going. My fix to the pattern was, essentially, to slip stitch into the dc on the far side of skipping 2 stitches.

Awkward seam

– I wasn’t happy with how my seam looked after about half a skein of yarn. It looked like there were too many holes in the blanket. I stopped where I was, made another the same way, and that’s how I got my bonus pillow. Then I started a third time, with the fix to the pattern and an adjustment to the seam. Instead of counting my ch 3 as the first double crochet, I would chain only 2 then dc in the same stitch. When it came time to join the round with a sl st, I ignored my ch 2 and slip stitched into the first actual dc. It made it easier, and the seam less noticeable.

Cheap yarn

– I’ve almost always used Caron Simply Soft yarn. It’s soft, it comes in almost any color, and I used to be able to find it anywhere. However, Hobby Lobby seems to have stopped supplying it. I didn’t want to go to another store since I was already at Hobby Lobby, so I bought the closest they had–Yarn Bee Soft Secret. I was unimpressed. It’s nice and soft like Simply Soft, the yarn had many knots, weak spots, loose strands, and thick spots throughout each of my 3 or 4 skeins I used on the pillow and blanket. It was very frustrating to work with. I kept telling myself it was just a bad dye lot, but I had the same problems with two skeins of red yarn a few months later. Next time I will definitely make the trip to a different store to get my tried and true Simply Soft!

Curling edges

– The edges of my blanket were curling pretty badly. I don’t know if I had tension issues, or if I’m used to working a blanket back and forth instead of in the round, or what the problem was. I decided to do a reverse single crochet border. This gives a sort of corded effect, and since you’re reversing the direction you’re working, it pulls out curling edges a bit.

Bonus Pillowstar pillow

– Like I said, I ended up with a bonus pillow out of this pattern. I bought some yellow flannel the same color as my yarn, and traced one of my star pieces on it. I cut out the fabric about an inch bigger all the way around for a seam allowance. Then I sewed my fabric, turned it right side out, stuffed it, and started sewing the two crocheted pieces around it. I just used a yarn needle to whip stitch it.

Lessons Learned

Downloading a pattern online, even one that’s from a reputable company, doesn’t always give you the results you want. Either through pattern error or user error, you should pay attention to where your project is going as you crochet. Fixing problems early is the best way to save a project.

Don’t start a huge project with untested yarn. At the very least, try out a hat or something with it first to make sure it’s going to work for you.

And finally, try to turn your mistakes into something you still like. No one has to know you screwed up unless you tell them!

What’s next?

I’ve been working on learning cross stitch! I’ll share some of my attempts with you!